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Anyone who lives together today as a couple without a marriage license is considered a stranger before the law. Find out here what you should consider in a marriage without a certificate. Plus: Tips from the experts.

Status: 10/10/2019

Living together yes, marriage no. 3.2 million couples in Germany live together without a marriage license. For comparison: 17.5 million couples are married. While marriage is legally protected and beneficial, unmarried couples are still considered strangers in many areas before the law. You will not receive any information from doctors if the partner is in hospital, do not automatically have joint custody of the birth of a child and do not inherit anything if the partner dies. The good news: Through contracts and powers of attorney, couples can compensate for many of these disadvantages.

Information from unmarried partners in hospital

If you are not married, you may find that doctors do not provide you with any information about the state of your partner's health. Reason: Doctors are subject to confidentiality. If the partner cannot release the doctors from their duty of confidentiality because he is in a coma, it can be difficult.

In the event of illness, a health care proxy for unmarried couples is important.

It is therefore important that unmarried partners give each other a power of attorney. This power of attorney ensures that the other partner can view the medical files and findings. And that he can enforce the medical measures that are in the interests of his partner or that his partner has even specified in advance in the living will. This power of attorney does not necessarily have to be certified by a notary or an authority. It should be noted that an unauthorized power of attorney can be questioned in retrospect.

A health care proxy can also regulate many other areas, such as representation in property matters, but you can also limit it to the health sector. The Federal Ministry of Justice has an online health care proxy template. If you only have your signature certified under a pure health power of attorney, it costs around 20 euros. As soon as you cover property issues with a power of attorney, the notary's fees are based on the amount of the property.

Unmarried partners avoid gaps in benefits

All couples living together without a marriage license should talk about retirement. Sounds strange? It may be, but it is an important issue in unmarried partnerships, especially if there are children together:

"The most important point is that the couple consider whether there are any gaps in a partner's career. Many women only work part-time because of the children, so compensation has to be found. The lack of social security is the characteristic of the illegitimate cohabitation . "

Prof. Dr. Dr. Herbert Grziwotz, notary in Regen

Rent an apartment without a marriage certificate

If one partner moves into the other's rented apartment, he should also be entered in the rental agreement. Only then is he considered a tenant with all associated rights. If both partners rent an apartment together, then both should sign the rental agreement. This prevents you from simply being put in front of the door when you break up with your ex-partner. If both are tenants, both are liable for the rental payments and the ancillary costs.

If your partner dies, you can continue to live in the apartment without any problems, even if you are not yet in the rental agreement. This is regulated in Paragraph 563 GBG: "The spouse or partner who runs a joint household with the tenant enters into the tenancy upon the death of the tenant."

If you do not want to sign the rental agreement, you can contractually agree a so-called limited right of use with your partner. Then if you split up, you will still have enough time to look for a new apartment.

Buy house unmarried

If you want to buy a house as an unmarried couple, you unfortunately have to think about what would happen if the relationship broke up. Who is allowed to stay in the house in the event of separation, who pays whom, how is the personal contribution in the form of renovation and expansion work evaluated - all these questions should be clarified before buying.

Both partners should register in the land register, because only those who are in the land register own the house. Either everyone pays half or a different division is agreed, which is also entered in the land register.

"Most choose a co-owner association with a 50/50 division. However, this is sometimes difficult under tax law. If one partner brings in significantly more than the other partner, it counts as a donation and must be taxed at 30 percent, as far as the tax exemption of 20,000 euros exceeds within ten years. "

Herbert Grziwotz

Custody couples without a marriage certificate

Unmarried couples do not automatically have joint custody.

When a married couple has a child, the man is automatically considered the father and the couple has joint custody. This is different with unmarried couples - here the mother has sole custody of the child if the partners do nothing. If both want to have joint custody registered, they can do so at the responsible youth welfare office without incurring any costs. To do this, the father must acknowledge paternity and both parents must submit a so-called declaration of custody. Expectant parents can do this before the child is born.

Adopting stepchildren as illegitimate partners

Married couples can adopt their partner's children, but unmarried couples cannot adopt underage children brought into the relationship by a partner.

"This path is not open to unmarried people: If one of them would like to adopt the other's child, the relationship to the child would expire (Federal Court of Justice, Az. XII ZB 586/15)."

Stiftung Warentest

That is, the mother would lose the child as a child if her partner adopted it. It is different when the child is of legal age or older. Then it can be adopted by the life partner without affecting the relationship to the actual parent.

Maintenance of unmarried partners

Married persons are obliged to provide mutual maintenance. If, on the other hand, an unmarried couple separates, there are usually no maintenance claims whatsoever. If an unmarried couple has children, in the event of a separation the partner who mainly looked after the children has a maintenance claim to the ex-partner. However, only until the youngest child together has reached kindergarten age, i.e. three years old. The maintenance law, which was newly regulated in 2008, then stipulates that the partner bringing up the children will also go back to work full-time and look after themselves.

You can regulate the social security of the partners in a partnership agreement. It should provide for an equalization of assets for the partner who stays at home to raise the children and thus may only work part-time or not at all. In addition, an equalization scheme for this partner's retirement provision must also be considered for this partner.

If there is no will, unmarried people get nothing if their life partner dies. Even after living together for a long time, unmarried partners do not acquire a right of inheritance. If the partner dies without the estate being settled, only the relatives inherit - for example the children or the parents of the deceased.

In a will or a notarial inheritance contract, the partners can appoint each other as heirs. In a notarial inheritance contract, both parties determine who inherits what. Therefore, an inheritance contract can only be changed by mutual agreement of both partners. However, the unmarried couple should note the following: While married people have an exemption of 500,000 euros in the event of inheritance, an unmarried heir pays 30 percent inheritance tax on everything that exceeds his exemption of 20,000 euros.

Testament in the case of unmarried partnerships

Married couples can draw up a joint will, couples without a marriage certificate cannot:

"With unmarried couples only a single will is possible. If both sit down, write and sign a will together, it is ineffective."

Herbert Grziwotz

Burial of unmarried partners

The life partner often has no influence on the type of burial either, because in the funeral law of many federal states, the illegitimate partner is not classified as a close relative. This can be circumvented by giving the partner a power of attorney that the other has the right to care for the dead.

Partnership agreement when

A partnership agreement can regulate a lot and ensure that not one of the partners is left extremely disadvantaged in the event of a separation. A partnership agreement can be formulated in writing without any form. However, you have to go to a notary with a partnership agreement if it is to regulate the transfer of real estate.

How many couples are using this? "Not many make a comprehensive partnership agreement, most only make selective agreements when it comes to real estate or the establishment of a joint company, protection in the event of the death of the partner or fair compensation if the relationship does not work out," says Notary Herbert Grziwotz.

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Tips for a happy partnership - We asked couples who have been together for a long time for their tips for a loving partnership. Thank you for the many wonderful answers! Posted by BAYERN 1 on Monday, May 7th, 2018